Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Doggie Blogging

Saul about to pounce his new red ball. Wook at those sweet ears!

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Since it is Friday that also means it is Doggie Blogging Day and there is lots to tell in the Adventures of Saul Nall this week.

Last week I ordered a pinch collar for Saul. I hadn't wanted to use a pinch collar but Saul has gotten so big and strong I can no longer control him on a walk. I am a large girl, very stout but that damn dog simply has his way with me every time we go out the door. Last weekend as I was bringing him back in from a walk he jerked coming in the door and made me fall. It was very wet and I slipped and hit my left knee on the bottom of the door frame. My knee is solid black now and hurts like a bastard.

The next day his pinch collar arrived. It is an ABSOLUTE DREAM! No more lunging after the cats, dragging me through briars or generally making the walk unpleasant. No more jumping me either, which he has a bad habit of doing very unexpectedly. Every shirt I own now has a signature muddy paw print dead center.
Oh my goodness yes...the pinch collar makes him act like a perfect gentleman, he walks in heel, holds his head up high and does exactly what I tell him to do. To everyone out there who has a big, stubborn dog but hesitated using a pinch collar because they look mean.....GET ONE! Pinch collars are not mean. They only pinch if you make it pinch during a correction or if the dog darts out to the end of the leash. Saul did that....once....and hasn't done it again.

Last week I mentioned that Saul had a rash all over and was going to see the vet and be groomed on Monday. What a time we had! We arrive at the vet's office early and are the first ones there. We walk in and sit down. The receptionist comes out of the back and is greeted with a huge growl from Saul. He backed up against the wall and rumbled. Lots of bass. She came closer to him and he backed up farther. I was petting him and trying to calm him down. I told the receptionist that he was only a puppy and not really mean. She asked what our appointment was for and I told her a grooming and a check on his rash. Turns out she was the groomer and was, shall we say, less than thrilled by Saul's reaction to her. She called the vet who was not in yet and told him about Saul growling at her and that she needed him to come in. After she got off the phone she made a couple of offhand remarks about there only being one doggie dryer working that day and that she was grooming by herself and could I stay and help.

It was clear that she was scared to death of Saul and so I told her I would just bring him back another day for grooming if she would show me how to clip his nails, which were as sharp as cats claws. She agreed and looked very relieved. I thought it would be a bad idea to leave him with someone he clearly was not comfortable with. He would pick up on her fear and that could get ugly. I don't think people who are afraid of big dogs (especially when they are puppies) should work in a vets office. That seems like a bad career choice. She said, "You should socialize him a lot so he doesn't growl at strangers." I responded, "I want him to growl at strangers....that is why I got him."

The last time I took him in there were two young girls running the office and assisting the vet. They were both Shepherd owners and Saul took right to them. No growling, no backing away. He acted like he had known them all of his life. They also showed no fear of him.

Saul and I went into the exam room to wait for the vet. One of the young girls that was there last time came bursting into the room and Saul never flinched. In fact, when she said, 'Hello' his tail started wagging and he ran right over to her. I think any hesitance on the part of whomever is meeting Saul is what sets him off. When the doc came in he showed no fear or aggression.

I explained what was going on with the rash and was informed that they would need to sedate him and take scrapings from some of the bumps. The doctor said he wanted to be sure it wasn't some sort of weird mange that is incurable. It's fucked up how they sucker you into stuff like that. I fell for it because I love my dog and want to make sure he doesn't have incurable mange. He said he had to sedate Saul because scraping involved using a scapel to scrape all the way down til blood rises to the surface and that he knew Saul would not appreciate that very much at all if awake. He loaded a hypo up with a dose for a 60 pound dog (Saul is well over 60 pounds but their scales were broken) handed me a muzzle and shot my puppy full of dope. He said he would be back in 10 minutes to get started.

Yeah I know I need to vacuum!

Ten minutes later Saul was still up. A little sleepy and wobbly but no where near sedated enough to be scraped. The doc loaded up another needle and shot him directly in the vein. It was amusing to watch Saul's eyes get red and begin to droop. Even funnier when he tried to lift his head and couldn't when someone came in the door. He lost his cookies to the Nth degree and konked out.

During the procedure the vet looked at Saul's file and asked me about Alabamians for Compassionate Care. "What is Alabamians for Compassionate Care? Do you do hospice work?" I told him that ACC is a grassroots group pushinig a medical marijuana bill in the legislature. He said, "That's wonderful. I support that. Sick people should certainly be allowed to have it." This lead to a discussion about the drug war overall and I learned that he is also against the drug war. He told me that ten years ago he would have completely disagreed with me. But then the town where he lives hired a police officer who he became friends with and this officer told him one day that if the government really wanted to win the drug war then they would legalilze and regulate drugs and take all of the proceeds from the black market. He said he thought about it for a while, did some research and came to that same conclusion.

During this conversation the receptionist that Saul has such a problem with came in and got into the conversation. We were talking about pot being legal for anyone 18 and over. She said she thought it should never be legal because of all of the brain cells it kills. I told her that actually marijuana and prozac are the only two drugs know that enable brain cell genesis....meaning it helps you to grow new brain cells. The vet interjected and said that alcohol causes far greater damage and yet it is legal. She the said yea but pot makes people go crazy. I told her that I have been smoking since the age of 12 and that I just ran for Governor of Alabama in the last election. I am far from stupid or crazy. She then said, "I have a brother that got hooked on that mess and it ruined his life." The vet said he didn't believe it was pot that ruined his life. I asked her if she thought everyone who used a substance should be jailed because a few may have a problem with that substance and asked her why she believed in the drug war and prohibition because it obviously didn't save her brother. She didn't answer.

I dropped the conversation at that point. I knew it was pointless in that setting to challenge her way of thinking about marijuana and its connection to whatever happened to her brother. I strongly suspect that it was the laws regaring marijuana that led to his demise. But that was another topic for another day.

Anyway...Saul does not have some weird form of mange. He has food allergies. We are terrible about feeding him what we eat and something didn't agree with him. The vet changed the food from Purina Large Breed Puppy Chow to something called IVD made out of whitefish and potatoes. A 20 lb. bag of it cost me $50. OUCH! Saul seems to really love the food. Hell, we don't even get whitefish at my house. That is some good eating...and for a dog no less. I can guarantee you that as soon as this bag is gone he will be going back to puppy chow. I don't think he was allergic to his dog food but to the table food he had been getting. So we have cut out the table food and his rash has cleared up. I can't afford $50 for a bag of dog food that doesn't make my dog shit gold turds.

The vet also put Saul on steroids for a couple of weeks to help reduce the swelling associated with the rash. Just recently my husband and son have been on steroids and they were both very aggressivea and amped up almost like they were on speed......exceptthey ate like hogs. Saul has reacted the same way. Very agressive and snappy during play. He also barks at me when I do not respond to him immediately. He is hyper, eating like a hog (neat vet trick to give him steroids and incredibly expensive dog food at the same time) and has to go to the bathroom four times as much as he did before he started taking them. I'll be glad when he is done and I can get my sweet, laid back dog back.

I had to leave Saul for a few hours at the vets office. He didn't think it was a good idea to turn me loose with a dog that was totally konked out. So we hauled him out to a cage to let him sleep it off. I think he was the happiest dog on earth when I came back to get him. He was really groggy but he came charging out of that cage like something was after him. He even let the receptionist he doesn't like love on him some.

I let my guard down after we got home and I was bringing him inside. He was on his leash and regular collar and still very groggy and wobbly so my grip on the leash was lax. Hell, he could hardly walk and I didn't think he was capable of going after a cat. I was wrong. We came around the corner and there was a cat that wouldn't move. Before I knew it Saul had struck like lightning, closed his mouth over the cat's entire body, got the daylights scratched out of him for his effort, let go and ended up with a mouthful of tickly cat fur. The cat is fine, by the damage done. I think she will move her dumbass next time Saul comes around the corner.

A blur of motion.

The rest of the day and night my puppy was pitiful. His eyes were blood red, he couldn't walk right, kept stepping in his food and water bowls and wanted me to be touching some part of him at all times. I wound up sitting in the floor with his sleeping head in my lap for a few hours. I brought up emotions I haven't felt since my kids were lap babies.

Until next time Saul says, 'GRRRRRRRRRRR'


Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR said...

Your story about Saul Nall reminds me of my time when I once had a dog named Nipper [1960's and 1970's]. Your blog is also liberating. I too support Alabamans for Compassionate Care in my thoughts and prayers.

johanna said...

That doesn't sound like a very reputable vet - the groomer making excuses for not having to deal with Saul.. scales are broken, etc.

Anyway, I love reading your doggie bloggie :)